‘Stress’ which keeps employees stimulated is helpful in maintaining a sense of purpose and optimising productivity.

Excessive (perceived) stress, however from personal circumstances, work or illness is likely to have the opposite effect and very substantial pressures over a long period of time often lead to emotional withdrawal (depression), excessive worry (anxiety), difficulty thinking and remembering and sometimes even more distressing symptoms.

Many work-related factors affect the level at which an employee’s stress may slip into illness, including type of duties, responsibility, control within their role, ineffective or overbearing line management, relationships with colleagues and feeling valued.

In many cases, however work issues may be less relevant than problems in the individual’s own life, e.g. relationships, finance, housing and any history of psychological ill-health in the past.

Because there are so many variables screening for ‘stress work’ rarely gives useful results – though there are circumstances where it can be useful: Business Health would be happy to discuss, if necessary.

One-to-one clinical assessments address all the potential issues behind the employee’s distress, not only problems in the workplace. As with all other health problems we separate illness from illness behaviour and ‘unwellness’ from unfitness (for work).

We advise individuals about medications and evidence-based talking therapies (if indicated) but spend most time focusing on effective self-help strategies for self-reliance, helping employees to accelerate their own recovery and build their own long term emotional resilience.

We also run a training programmes for employees and managers entitled ‘How the brain works – and what to do when it doesn’t‘ – aimed at helping employees to limit the stresses in their lives, recognise when they are becoming emotionally unwell, explore treatment options and show evidence-based self-help strategies for increasing long-term emotional resilience.

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